2012: The Year of God's Favor!
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor. Is. 61:1-2a ESV
One of the words the Holy Spirit is emphasizing for us in this year is Isaiah 61 – This is the year of the Lord’s favor! So what exactly does that mean for you? How can you step into this reality and experience God’s favor in your life, your job, your relationships, your nation?
In both Isaiah 61, and later in Luke 4 when Jesus fulfills Isaiah’s words, favor is initiated with proclamation! Favor is not passive. Favor is the anointing of the Holy Spirit to proclaim and release healing, deliverance, blessing and prosperity. The Message Bible translates it this way, “This is God’s year to act!” In the year of God’s favor, impossible situations turn around. In the year of God’s favor, chains that once held you back are loosed. In the year of God’s favor, the atmosphere is pregnant with miracles, signs, and wonders. In the year of favor, waste places are restored, missed opportunities redeemed, dreams reawakened. So in the year of the Lord’s favor, don’t be afraid to take up difficult challenges. God wants to open the doors of favor to you. How do you enter? Let’s begin by looking at favor, so we can define this year by what God is saying, and begin to prophetically proclaim it.
Every time favor is mentioned in Scripture, it is accompanied by a specific picture of what favor looks like. Isaiah 61 tells us what to expect in the year of God’s favor: an increase in His presence and anointing; healing, deliverance, salvation, restoration, promotion, increase, joy! Israel experienced God’s favor, and her enemies showered her with silver and gold. Joseph walked in favor, and he was promoted from the lowest dungeon to the palace. Esther experienced favor, and the unchangeable laws of the Medes and the Persians were reversed to bring deliverance to her entire nation. We will share more examples of favor in this and future articles. Take these and begin to proclaim them. God sees your circumstances by what He can do, not what you can’t do. Begin to pick up the vibration of God’s possibility in your impossibility. God wants you to step into the reality of this word for your life today. Proclaim a thing, and it shall be established (Job 22:28).
Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart (Ps. 37:4).
What do you desire? Choose godly desires, and God will bring them to pass.
It is important that our first priority is the Kingdom of God. Seek first the Kingdom, and all these things shall be added to you. So, as we seek to walk in favor, and all the blessings that accompany it, let us make the things of God first in our life. Delight in His presence, His Word, prayer, tithes, offerings, communion, fellowship in your local church, worship, and the peace of Jerusalem. Love and obey His Word. Bless His house, Israel, and the poor. Be humble*. Steward and celebrate the testimonies of what God has done in your life. Rehearse His miracles. Pray in the Spirit and cultivate your relationship with the Holy Spirit. These are some of the things God highlights as His priorities. His Kingdom is righteousness, peace, and joy. So if you seek His Kingdom first, you are going to experience more and more the Shalom of God, which is wholeness, prosperity, and peace in every area of your life.
But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison…The keeper of the prison paid no attention to anything that was in Joseph's charge, because the LORD was with him. And whatever he did, the Lord made it succeed (Gen. 39:21, 23).
Joseph is a wonderful hero for us as we enter this year of favor. He had a God-given dream as a young man that grew more remote with every passing year. He was persecuted, thrown in a pit, sold into slavery, imprisoned. But wherever he went, God’s favor rested on him. In every situation, God’s favor went before him, promoting him, increasing him, and equipping him for his destiny. So don’t quit. Don’t let the events of the past discourage you from pursuing the dreams, visions, and goals God has put in your heart. Keep your dreams bigger than your failures. Whatever has happened in the past, you can tell the devil, “It’s a new day!”
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope (Jer. 29:11).
God has wonderful plans for you. So don’t put self-inflicted stress on your life. Be faithful. Keep seeking God’s presence and following His cloud. But relax! God’s got your plans under control. He wants to prosper you and give you a hope and a future. Your job is to stay close to the Shepherd, listen to His voice, and then rest in the assurance of His grace and mercy working on your behalf. It is His delight to see you fulfill the awesome plans He has for you. He is a promise-keeper. Yes, you will still experience challenges. Scripture says that the very plan God had for Joseph “tested him until it came to pass” (Ps. 105:19). God’s plans are not to harm you. So don’t be afraid of the challenges, or define your future by your past. When your life seems to be in the pit, God is working behind the scenes to bring you out on the other side in victory.
Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving (Ps. 50:14).
Thanksgiving is not a day on the calendar. It is a daily habit that we must steward every day of the year. It is one of the most powerful weapons in our arsenal, and is vital to experiencing the favor of God in your life.
Thanksgiving is not a feeling, but starts as an act of your will. Leviticus 22:9 says, “And when you offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the Lord, offer it of your own free will” (Lev. 22:29). It is a choice we make every day. It’s like walking into a dark room in the middle of the night. It’s dark. You can’t see anything. You may even stumble around as you run into furniture or misplaced objects. You can either grumble and complain about the darkness, or simply turn on a switch. The moment you turn on the switch, you see the light. Our switch is thanksgiving. It releases the anointing. And the anointing “breaks the yoke” (Is. 10:27). So don’t give into the darkness, discouragement, or fear. Turn on the switch with thanksgiving and see God’s anointing come to break every yoke and hindrance. Your praise is the key to getting in tune with the year of God’s favor.
Get in Tune
Set the atmosphere for favor. The Word of God is living, active and full of power. Meditate on the corporate picture the Lord is giving us in His Word for 2012. The following are some Scriptures the Lord has quickened to us for this year of favor. Put them on your refrigerator, bathroom mirror, or your desk. Let the Holy Spirit paint a picture for you, and then begin to step into it. As you get in tune, then begin to prophesy it over your life, your children, your church, and your nation.
God wants to pour out His favor on you individually, on us corporately, and on our nation. This is a crucial time in history. We need God’s favor as never before. We invite you to join us as we prophetically proclaim the Year of God’s favor and open the year with a time of corporate prayer and fasting We want to set up a scenario by which God can pour out His Spirit in a mighty visitation.
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Proclaim Favor for 2012
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Ps. 5:12, For You, O Lord, will bless the righteous; with favor You will surround him as with a shield.
Ps. 105:37, He also brought them out with silver and gold, and there was none feeble among His tribes.
John 10:10, The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
Honor (even from enemies)
Ex. 11:3, And the Lord gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians. Moreover the man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt, in the sight of Pharaoh’s servants and in the sight of the people.
Deut 33:23, Naphtali, O Naphtali, satisfied with favor, and full of the blessing of the Lord, possess the west and the south.”
Joshua 6:20, So the people shouted when the priests blew the trumpets. And it happened when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat. Then the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city.
Ps. 44:1-3, We have heard with our ears, O God, our fathers have told us, the deeds You did in their days, in days of old: You drove out the nations with Your hand, but them You planted; You afflicted the peoples, and cast them out. For they did not gain possession of the land by their own sword, nor did their own arm save them; but it was Your right hand, Your arm, and the light of Your countenance, because You favored them.
Gen 39:21, But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him mercy, and He gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison.
1 Samuel 16:22, Then Saul sent to Jesse, saying, “Please let David stand before me, for he has found favor in my sight.”
Requests Granted (even by the ungodly)
Esther 5:8, If I have found favor in the sight of the king, and if it pleases the king to grant my petition and fulfill my request, then let the king and Haman come to the banquet which I will prepare for them, and tomorrow I will do as the king has said.”
Changed Laws (even those that are permanent)
Esther 8:5, If it pleases the king, and if I have found favor in his sight and the thing seems right to the king and I am pleasing in his eyes, let it be written to revoke the letters devised by Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, which he wrote to annihilate the Jews who are in all the king’s provinces.
Ps. 90:17, Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!
2 Cor. 6:2, “In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
Ps. 69:13 But as for me, my prayer is to You, O Lord, in the acceptable time; O God, in the multitude of Your mercy, hear me in the truth of Your salvation.
Anointing, Liberty, Healing, Comfort, Praise…GLORY…
Is. 61:1-5 AMP, The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed and qualified me to preach the Gospel of good tidings to the meek, the poor, and afflicted; He has sent me to bind up and heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the [physical and spiritual] captives and the opening of the prison and of the eyes to those who are bound, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord [the year of His favor] [a]and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, to grant [consolation and joy] to those who mourn in Zion--to give them an ornament (a garland or diadem) of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, the garment [expressive] of praise instead of a heavy, burdened, and failing spirit--that they may be called oaks of righteousness [lofty, strong, and magnificent, distinguished for uprightness, justice, and right standing with God], the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified. 4And they shall rebuild the ancient ruins; they shall raise up the former desolations and renew the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations. Aliens shall stand [ready] and feed your flocks, and foreigners shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers. But you shall be called the priests of the Lord; people will speak of you as the ministers of our God. You shall eat the wealth of the nations, and the glory [once that of your captors] shall be yours.